Crowd bids farewell to murdered oThongathi teen, Andile Mbuthu
Ignoring police instructions to exercise physical distancing, Mbuthu’s fellow pupils, community members and friends came out in numbers to support the family.
Speaking at the funeral, relative Nhlanhla Nkabinde said they were relieved they were finally laying Mbuthu to rest.
“We are hoping that justice will be served and those people who murdered Bobo are locked behind bars for good. We are also thankful to everyone who assisted us through this difficult time, from the first day he went missing up until now,” said Nkabinde.
The remains of the 16-year-old matric pupil from Nkosibomvu Secondary were found dumped in the Wewe River just outside oThongathi on May 8.
Mbuthu was murdered for allegedly stealing alcohol from a local tavern. The DNA test results of the human remains that were found in the river came back last week, confirming that the body was that of Mbuthu.
Mbuthu’s fellow schoolmate, Nombuso Madondo, said school would not be the same without him and his fun personality would be missed.
“He was a very nice person and he was so bright in class as well. He was also willing to assist when you asked him for help with school work. We will miss him a lot, his death shocked us and took us by surprise,” said Madondo.
Nkosibomvu Secondary principal, Sifiso Cebekhulu, said the painful reality of Mbuthu’s death would be felt the most by his former classmates, when they went back to school.
He said the mood among his fellow pupils was that of defeat and despair.
“Now that he is resting, there will be some healing.
“There has been little information regarding counselling for his former classmates and friends. It will be important that we address them, expressing the fact that we also feel the pain they are feeling,” said Cebekhulu.
Six men, including the owner of the tavern, were arrested in connection with Mbuthu’s disappearance, after a gruesome video of the teenager lying in a pool of blood emerged on social media.
The seventh suspect, who is believed to be a minor, was arrested later. Mlungisi Thabethe, 28, Lindani Ndlovu, 26, Andile Nhleko, 27, Mcedisi Mzobe, 27, Siyanda Msweli, 26, and Malusi Mthembu are all facing kidnapping and murder charges.
The six accused will appear in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court tomorrow, where they are expected to make their formal bail application.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority, the juvenile in the matter abandoned his application for bail last week and his case was adjourned to June 8.
Local ward councillor Zanele Khumalo said the anger in the community had since calmed, but they were still demanding justice.
“We are tired now, as this case keeps being postponed. At the end of the day, the people (in the wrong) must be prosecuted accordingly.
“They must get life sentences for their actions, because they will not survive in this community after what they have done,” said Khumalo.
Hundreds of people gathered for the funeral of Andile “Bobo” Mbuthu who is being laid to rest today. Fellow pupils, community member of Hambanathi gather to pay their last tribute. #AndileMbuthu #justiceforbobo @TheMercurySA pic.twitter.com/eG8v2meNF8— Sakhiseni Nxumalo (@SakhiNxumalo) May 31, 2020